5 ways you might be breaking the Highway Code without even realising it

Kwik Fit | Wednesday 27th September 2017 2:42pm

Road signs

As a motorist, itís likely youíre familiar with the doís and doníts of driving. After all, you wouldnít have passed your test without being up to speed on the laws of the road. However, regardless of whether you got your licence last year or a decade ago, there could be a number of driving faux pasí youíre making without realising it - some of which could mean that youíre breaking the Highway Code.

In the UK, the Highway Code provides a comprehensive list of the mandatory rules that all drivers should adhere to on the roads. If youíre found to be breaching any of them, you could land yourself in serious trouble.

In this blog, we take a look at five ways you could be potentially breaking the law and what you should be doing to stay safe when youíre behind the wheel.

1. You use your horn whenever you feel like it

Thereís no denying that your car horn can come in handy sometimes, and itís likely you use yours to alert other motorists of your presence while youíre out and about on the roads. However, did you know that there are rules in place as to where and when you can sound your horn? According to the Highway Code, you should avoid using it in built-up, residential areas between the hours of 11:30pm and 7:00am, and you also shouldnít use it when you are stationary in your car. The only exception is if another road user is posing a danger.

So, even though itís unlikely you would get charged for breaking this particular rule, itís still one you should be mindful of.

2. You use your phone as a sat nav

Technically, you are allowed to use your mobile as a sat nav - but only if itís in a fixed position. In the UK, itís illegal to use a hand-held phone while youíre on the roads, regardless of whether youíre driving, stopping at lights or queuing in traffic. In fact, if youíre caught using your phone at the wheel, you could receive six penalty points and be asked to pay a hefty sum of £200. You might even be taken to court and face further consequences. For instance, you may be asked to pay an even bigger fine or you could be banned from driving altogether. So, if youíre guilty of sneaking a peek at your phone while youíre on the road, this is a habit youíre going to want to break immediately.

In order to use your mobile as a sat nav, it should be fixed to your carís dashboard or windscreen, ideally in a phone cradle. It should be in a position so that it doesnít obstruct your view while youíre driving but enables you to see it clearly without needing to hold it.

3. You flash your headlights to give way to other motorists

While you might do it out of kindness, did you know that flashing your headlights to give away to other motorists is considered to be an offence? A brief flash of the headlights is often recognised as a method of communication on the roads, but the Highway Code states that you should only do this to let other road users know that you are there. Likewise, you should never assume that this is an invitation to proceed, for example if a motorist is stopping to let you pass in front of them.

The truth is, flashing headlights can have very different meanings depending on which country youíre in. For example, in France this can mean the opposite of ďafter youĒ and instead translates to ďIím coming throughĒ. So, whether youíre driving in the UK or abroad, you might want to think twice before reaching for your beams.

4. You park on the incorrect side of the road in the evening

It might not be something that youíve given much thought to but parking on the incorrect side of the road at night is considered to be an offence. According to the Highway Code, you must not park your car facing against the direction of the traffic flow. If you do, you could receive a penalty fine, and the reason behind this might be not be what you think. Many motorists believe this is because they will have to drive over to the opposite side of the road to enter and vacate the space - but itís actually due to dazzling.

If you park on the wrong side of the road, your headlights will dazzle other motorists as you are parking up and when you leave the space. Whatís more, road users wonít be able to see your rear light reflectors. So, for the safety of other motorists and yourself, try looking for somewhere to park on the left hand side of the road or in a recognised parking space.

5. You overtake other cars at pedestrian crossings

If youíre approaching a pedestrian crossing on a road with more than one lane and there is a stationary car on the inside lane as the lights turn green, you might be tempted to put your foot down to overtake them before they have a chance to move off. While you might think youíll gain enough speed to get in front of them, or you simply want to avoid having to slow down, itís important to note that in doing this, you are actually breaking the law.

The Highway Code states that you should not overtake the car closest to the crossing. The reason behind this is simple - their car may be blocking your view of a pedestrian on the crossing. In this instance, itís better to be safe than sorry, so refrain from overtaking and put your foot on the brake instead.

Itís extremely important to be safe and sensible while youíre behind the wheel, and itís crucial that you pay attention to the Highway Code at all times. If youíre a little rusty on the laws of the road, it might be a good idea to get yourself a copy and brush up on the facts.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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